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Dad's call for greater awareness of postnatal depression in men

Nathan says he was trying to support his partner but he didn't know how to support himself.. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Postnatal depression is something that affects 1 in 10 fathers, but many dads say there is a lack of support available to them following the birth of a child.

Dad of two, Nathan Urquhart, says he felt scared and alone after his two children were born. But he says this wasn't taken seriously, and a lack of support made things worse.

"I questioned everything about myself, about what was the point, about was I even worthy of being my kid's father, I wondered whether anybody even needed me," he said.

Dad of two, Nathan, experienced postnatal depression after the birth of his children. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

"It made me feel so low and when I tried to talk to somebody about getting some help about how I was feeling, if I did get an answer it was dismissive as if to shut me up so that they could focus on my partner.

"It made me feel terrible, I was trying to support my partner as best as I could and I didn't know how to support myself."

1 in 10
dads affected by postnatal depression

Nathan hopes by sharing his story he can help others too.

"When you are having a bad day that it's not going to keep being bad," he said.

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What are the symptoms of postnatal depression?

  • Anxiety
  • A sense of inadequacy
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feeling excluded
  • Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day

Campaigner and father of one Mark Williams, from the Ogmore Vale, also wants more support for dads.

Mark was hit with depression following his wife's traumatic birth of their son. Credit: Mark Williams

He was affected by depression following his wife's traumatic birth of their son. He's petitioning for the same mental health checks for dads in Wales as there are in England.

"The biggest killer as we know for men under 50 is suicide. NHS England now has actually acknowledged that fathers need support when mums have post natal depression, unfortunately wales doesn't have that support. So we want all parents supported, but at least dad's will get that support if mum is suffering with post natal depression."

In England, partners of new and expectant mothers who have depression or anxiety are offered a mental health check and Mark wants the same in Wales.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said it provides families with support following birth.

Families are provided with support following a birth from midwives and health visitors. All health boards are expected to work towards meeting agreed standards for integrated perinatal health services in Wales, which includes considering the mental health and well-being of fathers.

– Welsh Government spokesperson
Support group, Dads Can, provide help to fathers in South East Wales. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The support group Dads Can says coming together is the best way to overcome mental health problems.

"We're trying to help the dads find more positive ways of approaching their mental health issues such as activities, building relationships with other men in terms of friendships and in the community", said Shaun Hatherall.